If he falls I’m drafting him!
Welcome to the second part of the 2011 “MY Take” on the draft. In part one I talked about the importance, from my perspective, of the need to have a plan as the draft approaches. But we all know that what we think might happen in the draft landscape always changes, as teams trade and draft before us.
This “My Take” will focus on the players, from the cumulative “mocking the draft “, as of 5/29/11. Two players, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, will not be discussed here, nor included in the “I’m taking them if they fall” poll. Ziggy has set up a poll in the Bobcats Planet draft forum that gives everyone a chance to vote for three players that, if they drop, you’d draft them without hesitation. Why are Irving(97) and Williams(100) not included, you might ask? They are recognized as the two best players in this draft and we’re pretty sure everyone would grab them if they tumbled to the ‘Cats with the #9 pick.
The players I will discuss, again the other six players listed to go before we pick, are: Enes Canter(98), Brandon Knight (96), Jonas Valanciunas (93), Kemba Walker(95), Kawhi Leonard (93), and Jan Vesely (95). Alec Burks (95) is currently listed, again from the cumulative mock, to us at the number nine pick. Burks was also selected by the majority of those voting in the “who do you take” with the #9 pick poll on Bobcats Planet. NBAdraft.net is one of the few mock draft sites that attaches an evaluation number to prospects. The numbers in parenthesis next to the players is the overall evaluation score NBAdraft.net has assigned that player and is included for comparison.
Enes Canter is listed as the third most likely player to go in the draft according to the 5/31 cumulative “mocking the draft”. Canter is listed by many mock draft sites as the best center prospect in this draft, so is it really possible for him to drop to the #9 spot? Yes. Just three drafts ago the best center prospect, Brook Lopez, dropped past the ‘Cats and went #10 to the Nets. Canter can slip for two reasons – many analysts question his ability to defend as a center in the NBA, and at only 19 he has already had serious issues with both knees. He might indeed slip to #9 because of these issues and I see him as more of a risk than Lopez was because of his knees.
The next player we have is point guard Brandon Knight. The knock on Knight is he tends to be streaky, has a high (4.2/3.2) assists-to-turn-over ratio, and is a solid but not elite athlete. Knight tends to play more of a finesse game than an athletic point guard game. I seriously doubt, because of any of his “short comings”, that he gets close to the #9 pick.
Our next listed pick is Jonas Valanciunas who is listed as a power forward/center and is an international prospect from Lithuania. Volanciunas is billed as a very good athlete with a good motor and a very good understanding (high basketball IQ) of the game who has steadily progressed as a player. His knocks are – a predictable post game, lack of strength, and not really up to playing against the level of competition as most players in the draft. I doubt Valanciunas drops simply because he’s a “raw” player. Scouts have watched this guy for years work to better himself and his game and his hard work gets him drafted before #9.
Kemba Walker, this years NCAA hero, is up next. Walker seems to be one of those point guards that scouts/analysts either like a lot or dislike a lot. Walker played on a team that tended to play a half-court isolation game so there are valid questions about his ability to organize and lead a team at the NBA level. Walker has also been accused of being an undersized shooting guard. It is possible that Walker could drop, but too many teams drafting before the Bobcats need a point guard, so I doubt that will happen.
Our last two players are both small forwards, a position that the Bobcats certainly need to develop over the next couple of seasons. Kawhi Leonard is first up and is a physical “freak” with huge hands and a 7’3″ wingspan. Leonard is also a very athletic player that some scouts compare to Gerald “Crash” Wallace. Leonard is a power-wing that could, as Wallace has, play some power forward at the NBA level. The knocks on Leonard is a lack of polished skill, an under-developed offensive game, and an undisciplined defensive game. Even with these short-comings it is doubtful that Leonard makes it to #9.
The last player listed is another international player, Jan Vesely. Vesely is a rather large, 6’11″, small forward but from all the reports I’ve read, this will be his NBA position. Vesely is reported to have a good motor, good hands, runs the floor well, and seems solid defensively. He needs to add some weight and strength to play in the NBA. Vesely has also stated he will take a physical but not do work-outs for teams. There are teams that will pass on relatively unknown international players that refuse to work out for them, and who can blame them? Because of this it is possible Vesely could drop to the ‘Cats.
I’d like to sum up this portion of “My Take” by dropping back to the NBAdraft.net numbers for a minute. That site lists Kemba Walker, 9 out of 10, as the most NBA-ready of any of these six players. The other five all received 7 out of 10. Alec Burks is listed as 8 out of 10. Derrick Williams is the only player they have listed that received a 10 out of 10, which equates to ready to play at the NBA level. Every player that has been discussed in this article will need time to develop.
Our Fearless Leader at Bobcats Planet, Ziggy, has set up a poll so that we can vote for up to three players, if they drop, that you would not hesitate to draft. I hope if you participate in the poll you’ll take the time to tell a little bit about the reasons behind your picks. Thanks, and I’ll “see” you in the next “My Take”.